i soon learned that district #2 is located in maizie. however, the street address reads “chouteau” . when i call for directions i’m informed that this is because the maizie post office burned down ten years ago and was never rebuilt; so the address was changed to chouteau. it is there though, on broadway just past the lumber yard.
it turns out that broadway is a narrow drive about a hundred yard stretch (if that) off the highway. this folks, is mainstreet: maizie ok.
i find the tiny lumber yard as directed. rural water district #2 is one of a dozen or so businesses and homes on this road. the address of one sagging, black mailbox reads “north broadway” while the one right next to it reads “south broadway”. the office is simple enough with a cement floor and a community bulletin board in the front hall; surprisingly full for such a small town. it is furnished with a few filing cabinets, a reception area consisting of two metal frame chairs, and two desks. two ladies sit behind the desks, one decorated with artwork from a grandchild. they both are very nice, very helpful. in the back, a man in blue workshirt, jeans and suspenders manages from his office.
i am to fill out the paperwork and sign a form stating (among other things) i understand that in the event of a drought, water will be rationed. this means that my garden and livestock will only be watered after everyone else. i’m sure every water district has this contract, and i know this is an obvious concept. i just thought it amusing.
i also had to sign a “no sewage” agreement for initial tap that is used during construction.
jo anne behind the desk says to gladys “do you have a copy of this for her?”
gladys: “no, i have to type it up..”
gladys goes to her computer sporting a hay bale screen saver and types up the agreement. she brings it to me with a smile “you have a ball-point pen? “ (pen has two syllables)
while i’m wading through legalese with a country twang, a customer enters.
he’s wearing jeans, work boots, a t shirt, scruffy beard, wad of crisp $20 bills. he looks like he stepped out of the most recent episode of king of the hill. he’s here to pay a bill and he’s mad.
“this is too much. way, way too expensive (expensive is drawn out with a beautiful drawl). what you have here is a monopoly. that’s what this is. ain’t right. just ain’t right”. he goes on and on…
i’m trying not to stare, not to giggle, and just focus on agreeing to (in the event of a drought) not water my cattle before my neighbor has had a bath.
as soon as the disgruntled customer leaves, the man with suspenders calls out to be informed of the mishap. gladys hollers back “it was just a late bill” (bill has two syllables).
papers signed, i hand them over to be examined and notarized by gladys. she stamps with a flourish. i make out the check to whom?
“rural water district #2 but you can just write r-w-d #2 cuz it’s much faster”
joann informs me that there will be a board meeting on march 12 and then i can have my tap. just mark where i would like it to go, then call them and they’ll come out and set the tap.
“mark it? how do I mark it?”
gladys: “give her a stick” (stick has two syllables) .
i’m grandly presented with a pine marking stick sprayed blue.
as i leave joann tells me “make sure you call and let us know when you’re ready to go. otherwise, well , we’ll just have to find something else to do in the meantime”.